Russia bans EC Vice-President Jourová from entering the country

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Russia has banned eight officials from the EU countries and the EU institution itself from entering the country. Among others, the decision concerns the European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová and the head of the European Parliament, David Sassoli.

According to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the move is Moscow’s retaliation for new EU sanctions.

“The European Union continues its policy of unilateral illegitimate restrictive measures targeting Russian citizens and organizations,” noted the statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry, referring to March sanctions against six Russians.

At the same time, Moscow complains that the EU rejects all its proposals to solve mutual problems through dialogue and deliberately undermines the independence of Russia’s domestic and foreign policy.

“This practice contradicts the UN Charter and the basic norms of international law. It is accompanied by anti-Russian hysteria, deliberately spread by Western media. It is not substantiated by evidence. All our proposals to resolve any problematic issues that have arisen between Russia and the EU through direct professional dialogue are consistently ignored or rejected,” added the statement.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s decision of the Russian authorities to ban eight European Union nationals from entering the Russian territory. This action is unacceptable, lacks any legal justification, and is entirely groundless. It targets the European Union directly, not only the individuals concerned,” said President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and President of the European Parliament David Sassoli in a joint statement.

According to them, Russia has clearly shown that it has chosen a confrontation with the EU instead of agreeing to a change in the negative direction of bilateral relations.

“Russia’s constant efforts to spread misinformation and undermine human rights deserve a strong and sustained response. If it is a price for telling the truth, then I will be happy to pay it,” wrote Vice-President of the European Commission Věra Jourová on Twitter, expressing her support for other people on the list.

Russia also imposed an entry ban on Jacques Maire, a member of the French delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and three Baltic officials: Ivars Abolins, president of the Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council, Maris Baltins, director of the Latvian State Language Center, and Ilmar Tomusk, head of the Estonian Language Center.

On the blacklist are also the head of Berlin’s prosecutor’s office, Jörg Raupach, and Asa Scott, head of Sweden’s Laboratory for Chemical, Biological, Radiation and Nuclear Safety (CBRN), which confirmed Germany’s findings of Alexei Navalny’s poisoning.

Title image: European Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova addresses the plenary at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, March 25, 2021. (Yves Herman, Pool via AP)

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